Top new TV features
If you’re thinking about buying a new TV, then you might be surprised to find out how far the technology of building a television has moved on since you last purchased a new screen – even if it was only a few years ago.
With picture quality on HD sets sorted, manufacturers have moved on to refining the features that can make their sets stand out, so here are just a few of the things to look out for:
LCD screens are traditionally lit by powerful lamps sitting behind the screen, which filter the light through different coloured squares to make the picture. With Edge-LED backlights, bulbs are replaced by LEDs and are arranged around the edges of the screen. The light is then diffused evenly across the whole screen by shining through a thin panel covered in prisms. As a result, Edge-LED screens are incredibly thin and use little power compared to other technologies.
From the early 1980s, THX was a seal of quality for cinema sound, guaranteeing that everything from the theatre’s speakers to the audio production techniques met the high standards laid out. Developed by Lucasfilm for Return of the Jedi, THX now encompasses all home cinema equipment. If a TV is THX certified, it means what you watch will be as close to the original master as possible.
Stereoscopic 3D is now established as a mainstream movie-making technique, and more and more TVs are capable of playing back full 3D scenes. With a special pair of glasses, you can watch 3D films with stereoscopic effects that feel like the action is coming right out of the screen at you. The best thing about 3D TVs, though, is that they have to include some of the best panels and visual processing circuitry too – so you’ll get exceptional 2D quality as well.
Long gone are the days when all of our home entertainment came on a DVD disc. You probably watch YouTube clips or catch-up on shows with BBC iPlayer using your laptop, so why can’t you do the same on your TV? With an internet enabled smart TV, you can using the TV’s built-in apps. These connect to your home router and allow you to stream video from your favourite websites. With the right software on your PC, you can stream digital video files, music and photos directly from your hard drive over the home network too.
For the last word in complete connectivity, look for a TV with built-in USB ports and even an SD card reader. You’ll be able to view pictures and movies straight off of a camera or USB drive, so show off your snaps in style or play back films you’ve downloaded on to your PC.
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